The House with a Clock in Its Walls – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2018 film The House with a Clock in Its Walls.

Story

I was very impressed. The movie had the right level of intrigue and excitement and the pace was a great balance between Gothic horror and kids horror. The plot was relatively simple and gave space for the characters’ backstories and the world building.

Score: 1

Characters

A lot of times, stories like this will neglect character development for the adults or the kids, but this one did a great job balancing it. The villain was surprisingly sympathetic for a corpse.

Cate Blanchett was amazing in her role and really made me feel for the character.

Jack Black managed to do what he does best and make a loud, arrogant, character who is both sympathetic and likeable.

Owen Vaccaro was wonderful as the quirky kid. I am a little sad they cut the fat-phobia story, but it’s probably for the best.

Score: 1

Dialogue

Quirky, weird, and definitely memorable. The skills of the writer (who wrote for the first five seasons of Supernatural) were definitely well used.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The visuals were beautiful and creepy. I wasn’t a fan of the abundant poop jokes however.

The music was atmospheric and fun.

Score: 0.5

Fun

I watched this with my 2 year old and he loved it. Kept saying “scary… fun!” In the actually scary parts he hugged me. I think my 4 year old would have yelled at the screen when the cabinet was opened and flailed like an angry octopus.

Its exactly the kind of kid’s horror that I grew up with and it felt like something I would have watched in the 90’s, but better in almost every way.

Score: 1

Overall

Fun, exciting, and scary with more heart and better acting then expected. This is a movie made by horror fans for future fans. It’s a great introduction for those kids that can handle and enjoy the scary moments. It’s also a great nostalgic feel for those of us that grew up with this style of storytelling.

Final Score: 4.5 Stars out of 5

Focus and too much of it

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

I’m a very focused person. Probably not in the way you’re thinking. I’m not particularly goal oriented. If I were, I wouldn’t need my new year’s goals. I’m not going to make any lists of hot up-and-coming business people.

What I do have is an inability to let something go until it’s done or I’ve given up. Currently, I’m fighting with a smart light fixture that refuses to be smart. It’s consumed my thoughts and my actions. So much so, that I couldn’t think of anything else to write.

This focusing is super helpful when I’m working on a project or writing a novel. It pushes me and I can use it to get over the slumps. It isn’t, however, useful when I have no control over the situation. It’s also very unhelpful when I have other things to do.

The satisfaction of being done with the subject of the focus is great and long lasting. But it’s not always fun and can lead to me being grumpy or distracted until I finish or fix the issue.

The Endless Fight by the Awkward Yeti
Mildly relevant in that when I’m very focused, I feel like my brain and heart are fighting.

I’m told this is a trait of both ADHD and Autism. I’ve never been diagnosed with either, but the more I read about it, the more I’m confused and wondering if I may have one, the other, or both.

I’ve developed tricks and habits to make sure the focus isn’t detrimental to my health or those around me, but it’s stressful.

There are different levels of focus, of course. The light fixture thing is something I don’t want to have to worry about any more so it’s more immediate. Writing a book is easier and less frustrating in its pull.

I’m fine and I’m not asking for help. I just needed to vent and let you know that if you feel the same, you’re not alone.

I’ve always been this way, but I’ve started to recognize it more in the past year or so. The lack of commute, activities, and other larger distractions have given me time to be more introspective.

Hopefully that’s a good thing.

Stay safe and be kind,

Éric

Introducing Secondary Characters Part 3/3

These are a few of the secondary characters in Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers.

See Part 1 and Part 2

In order of appearance:

Rachel

Appearance inspired by Aimee Carrero

Age: 20

Date of Birth: Unknown

Appearance: Dark hair and tan skin

Job: Student in third year at Westmeath University, working in sales at Discreet Frills

Connection to Protagonists: Coworker of Kennedy’s, was babysat by Jason when they were younger

Nick

Appearance inspired by Colton Haynes

Age: 23

Date of Birth: Unknown

Appearance: Grey eyes

Job: Head server at The Hawaiian in Oldtown

Connection to Protagonists: Works at Jason’s restaurant

Jesse

Appearance inspired by Tom Cavanagh

Age: mid-50s

Date of Birth: Unknown

Appearance: Tall and thin, greying hair

Job: Owns and operates Mortimer’s Diner in Oldtown

Connection to Protagonists: Jason loves his Hungry Man’s breakfast

The Painting, Part 1

This is a republish of the short story I wrote in 2016 and won an award with. We realized I had never posted it on our own website, so here it is.


I blinked, trying to see in the dimmer light inside the – where was I? Oh yes, the restaurant. A multi-faceted crystal chandelier hung from the ceiling, drawing my eye. I turned around, looking at the décor, and caught a glimpse of a server drawing a curtain over a painting.

“Oh wow,” I murmured under my breath. I could recognize the swirls in the painting anywhere. “Hey!” I raised my voice slightly. “Is that another painting in Van Gogh’s Starry Night series?” I squinted, trying to see through the dim foyer, while moving towards the painting.

He hurriedly finished drawing the curtain, blocking my view.

Disappointed, I stepped back. Something about the painting was not quite right. Before I could concentrate on what, I heard my name.

“Sophie! You finally made it!”

I spun, stepping into my husband’s arms. “George!” My eyes unexpectedly filled with tears. “Sorry I’m late.”

“Nothing to cry about, darling.” He brushed his fingers under my eyes to wipe away the tears. “We’ve only just been called to our table.”

I smiled shakily up at him. The light refracted through my tears, making his blond hair glow.

We followed the maître-d’ into the dining room. The various aromas tickled my nose, the combination making my stomach churn a bit. The tables were teardrop shaped, tucked into rounded booths that provided privacy to the diners. There was a surprising amount of room inside each section. On the walls were exquisite paintings; Monet, Rembrandt, Picasso, and Da Vinci.

I tugged on George’s arm as we navigated our way through the maze of tables. “Can we look at the art after dinner? You know how much I like Van Gogh.”

“Of course, sweetheart,” he replied.

The maître-d’ stopped at a table with two other couples and pulled out a chair. “Madame?” He gestured for me to sit, and placed George at my side.

“This is different,” I said, smiling at the other guests after sitting in my chair. “Sophie,” I introduced myself. “And my husband George.”

“Daphne and John,” replied the redheaded woman to my right. “We just got married three days ago!”

“Congratulations!” I exclaimed.

“Andrea and Felix,” said the blonde across from me. She had thin, angular features. “How far along are you?”

Startled at the question, I looked down at my slightly protruding belly and gave it a tiny rub. “Just past twelve weeks,” I said. “I’m not used to people noticing. It depends on what shirt I wear.”

“Humans have such an interesting gestation period,” said John.

“I’d rather the nine months than the elephant’s two years!” I said, and we all laughed.

“Do you know the gender?” asked Daphne.

“Oh, no, not yet,” I smiled ruefully. “I don’t get to find that out until sometime around week twenty.”

A waiter appeared between George and Felix. “Something to drink, Madame?” he asked me.

“Just water, please,” I replied. A painting on the wall across from us caught my eye, and I pointed it out to George. “Look at that Monet! It looks so vivid, I could almost jump into the river.”

George laughed. “Such an imagination!” He kissed my hand.

The waiter brought me a glass, and I left it in front of me without taking a sip.

“Not thirsty?” asked Andrea.

“No, not really.” I paused. “Actually, I feel rather full at the moment.” I frowned, confused. “Did I eat before coming here?” I didn’t think I had, but I couldn’t remember.

“You probably just need to visit the ladies room,” interjected George. He ran a soft hand over my belly. “You are pregnant, after all.”

My thoughts cleared. “You’re probably right. Where is the washroom?”

Fortunately, it was within sight of the table, so I would be able to find my way back on my own, as the paths between the booths were as twisted as a maze.

As I sat on the toilet, I examined the painting on the back of the door and considered the other art in the restaurant. “Van Gogh,” I murmured. “I haven’t seen any other Van Gogh here. That’s weird. And the one in the front lobby was one I’ve never seen before.” I thought about the part of the painting that I caught a quick glimpse of. “There was a large full moon, over a meadow.” I shook my head and got up to wash my hands. “I wonder what the name might be.”

I headed back to the table, but didn’t sit down. When George stood up to let me by, I said, “I’m really not hungry yet. Can we look at the paintings now?”

George gave a sigh and smirked at our tablemates. “Whatever you want, darling.” He took me by the hand and we started walking from painting to painting, admiring how realistic the paintings looked.

“These look so perfect!” I exclaimed, astonished. “Surely they can’t all be originals?”

A waiter passing behind us overheard me, and interjected, “Oh yes, Madame. All the art pieces in our restaurant are originals. The ones in the Hu-“

George coughed sharply.

“Museums are just copies,” smoothly continued the waiter.

“Wow!” I stared around, wide-eyed. There were at least fifty paintings within my sight, and I knew there were more beyond that. “Those are some impeccable forgeries in the museums, but I can definitely see how these paintings are more…” I searched for the right word. “Full. Three-dimensional, almost. Are there any other paintings by Van Gogh?”

“Other?” asked the waiter, swallowing hard. “We don’t have any paintings by Van Gogh. The quality of his work wasn’t enough to stand with the masters.”

I stared. “Are we talking about the same painter? The genius who died not knowing the brilliance of his work? I definitely saw a painting by him at the entrance.”

“You must have been mistaken, dear,” laughed George, his hand tightening on mine. “If the waiter says there are no Van Gogh paintings here, he would know.”

“I know what I saw.” My chin jutted out stubbornly, and I tried to let go of my husband’s hand. “I’ve never seen that particular painting, but the style was obviously by Van Gogh. It was of the same feel as his Starry Night series, except in this particular painting, the moon dominated the scene, over a meadow. Don’t you remember, George? You were there too.” When George shook his head, I sighed impatiently. “It was beautiful! I wonder what he named that painting. Moonlight over Meadows, perhaps? Or Moonlight over the Moor? Or ooh!” I wiggled in excitement. “We’re in Ireland! Maybe it’s Moonlight over Faerie!”

A piercing alarm went off.


Part 2 will come out next week!

Coffee BBQ Defence

Hello Coffee Lovers,

Here at JenEric Coffee we use a BBQ coffee roaster. That means that it’s all outside until it’s ready to flavour and package.

I even roast in winter.

Now, winter roasting is the best. The beans cool quickly and I don’t have to worry about the BBQ becoming a target for something to live in.

This summer I’ve had to fight off wasps and climbing vines… both are so fast that between weekly checks they managed to climb in.

Don’t worry. I made sure to deal with both and clean the BBQ to avoid any issues.

If you’re interested in buying wasp- and vine-free coffee, check out JenEric Coffee.

Thank you,

Eric

Monsters University – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2013 film Monsters University.

Story

The story is a great subversion of the traditional college movie. I like how much it plays with our expectations from knowing the first movie. The messages of “it’s okay to change your dream” and “there are many paths” are more poignant to me now than they were when the movie came out, making me enjoy it a lot more.

Score: 1

Characters

As much as I like the story and the movie itself is very consistent with it’s characters, I find Sulley feels off. His greatest character trait from the first movie was how much he cared for people and monsters. His empathy and genuine niceness was impressive and played at odds with his scaring. Making him an entitled rich kid works for this movie, but we don’t see any hint of it in the original and his turn around feels a little unmotivated.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The writing is extremely well done and the dialogue really reflects the lived experience of a lot of animators and writers. Especially the parts where someone says, “You just don’t have it.”

The humour is clever and delivered perfectly.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The original was spectacular for it’s time and is starting to look a little dated. After almost a decade, this movie still looks better than a lot of other animations that came out this year. It’s spectacular and beautiful in all its detail.

The music takes a shift away from jazzy to more orchestral which works extremely well both for the plot and the location.

Score: 1

Fun

Once I let go of my precious nostalgia, this movie was fantastic. I laughed and cheered throughout. My kids both loved it with the two year old laughing at everything Mike did.

Score: 1

Overall

This is a prequel and as such suffers a little at having to fit in the world and story of the first movie. It is, however, a fantastic watch and worth every moment. It’s a beautiful and poignant movie with lots of laughs.

Final Score: 4.5 Stars out of 5

Shameless Birthday Promotion

Hello Readers,

Tomorrow is my birthday. Why not buy yourself something nice in my honour?

Here are a few options:

Books

All of these are available from the following stores:

Preorder my newest novel

Coffee Shop Between the 'Verses
Coffee Shop Between the ‘Verses

Available at the following stores

Coffee

Buy some coffee from JenEric Gourmet Coffee

Other Options

If you’re not comfortable or able to buy anything, why not consider reviewing the books you’ve already read? Review them on the site you bought them and/or GoodReads.

Thank you!

Stay safe and be kind,

Éric

Introducing Secondary Characters Part 2/3

These are a few of the secondary characters in Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers.

See Part 1 here.

In order of appearance:

Zhanna and Lydia Turgeneva

Appearance inspired by Jackie Burroughs and Cloris Leachman

Age: Unknown (very old)

Date of Birth: Unknown

Appearance: Old, hunched demeanor, Lydia uses a cane carved to look like Baba Yaga’s house

Job: They own and operate a tailoring and sewing store called Seams Likeable in Oldtown

Connection to Protagonists: Kennedy’s neighbours

Judy Fauche

Appearance inspired by Lorraine Toussaint

Age: Early 60s

Date of Birth: Unknown

Appearance: Very large, red hair, Black

Job: Owns and operates Judy’s Butchery in Oldtown, has a dojo on the third floor above it and runs classes on the weekends, in charge of policing and protection for the Oldtown Council

Connection to Protagonists: Trained Jason in Kung Fu

Michelle and Evanna Swan

Appearance inspired by Michelle Trachtenberg and young Alexa Gerasimovich

Age: Early 30s and 3

Date of Birth: Unknown

Appearance: Single mother and daughter, blonde

Job: Unknown

Connection to Protagonists: Kennedy’s neighbours

See Part 3